Madeira, Portugal

The Ultimate Guide to Madeira: 1-Week Itinerary

Portugal's best-kept secret is now just a direct 6-hour flight away. Madeira is a Portuguese island off the coast of Northern Africa and should be at the top of everyone's list for the upcoming year. From Madeira wine, unbeatable sunrises, breathtaking vistas, historical sites, and endless things to see and do that fit any price point. Here's how we spent 1 week in "The Hawaii of Europe," magical Madeira with Visit Madeira.


On November 29th, we were part of the lucky group who were invited on the first-ever nonstop flight from the USA to Funchal, Madeira. In partnership with SATA Azores Airlines, Inovtravel, a Portugal-based tour operator, launched this new nonstop flight from JFK and alongside it a whole host of Madeira packages inclusive of flights, accommodation, airport transfers, and experiences to fit anyone's style. See their entire list of offerings here. At the time of writing this article, the Madeira Islands are open to US tourists with no restrictions for fully vaccinated travelers. We had to complete a Madeira Safe online form within 48 hours before departure. For the latest up-to-date information for entry requirements please refer to your country's travel guidance. 

Day 1

We took the first day to relax and unwind at the hotel and stroll around the town. We stayed at Pestana Carlton for the first half of our stay and at Savoy Palace for the second half. For a full breakdown of hotels and where we ate - stay tuned!

Day 2

If, like us, you're not a morning person you may want to consider adjusting your schedule while in Madeira because their sunrises are indescribably stunning. We started our morning extra early for a Sunrise Jeep Tour with Discovery Island Madeira that brought us above the clouds to one of the highest peaks in Madeira, Pico do Arieiro. It was our first time seeing a sunrise from above the clouds.

After spending a bit of time here to soak in the views, we had a delicious breakfast and after warming up with a cup of hot coffee we did a leisurely hike to Balcoes Viewpoint. We were rewarded with a rainbow over the mountains and this beautiful sight.

Then we headed to lunch at Quinta do Furao for delicious lunch including limpets and stunning viewpoints. The restaurant is part of a hotel property that also has a vineyard.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel to unwind for a little while then we made a sunset drive out to Maktub for dinner.

The Ultimate Guide to Madeira: 1-Week Itinerary

Must-Sees in Madeira

Day 3

If you're someone who craves a bit of adrenaline, look no further than Epic Madeira. We did an intermediate Canyoning Experience that was full of rappelling down the side of waterfalls, swimming, and a bit of hiking. The team of experts kept us feeling safe and energized the entire time and we also loved that they took plenty of GoPro photos and videos along the way. After the early morning tour, we felt invincible and extra satisfied with sitting ocean side for the rest of the day.

Day 4

Portugal is known for its delicious wine, but Madeira wine may be even more renowned. We did a Food & Wine Walking Tour with Discovering Madeira around Funchal which included 11 food tastings and 6 different drinks. Of course, you have to start with Madeira wine so we began at Blandy's. They have been producing wine since the 1800s and you can get an idea of your favorites in their tasting room. After our wine experience, we also got to enjoy chocolates, Madeira cookies, Poncha, and walked through the well-known Farmer's Market.

After a delicious morning, we caught the Cable Car to reach the top of Monte. This is the most common way to reach the top and costs about 11 euros an adult one way.

Once reaching the top we took another Cable Car to the Botanical Garden. Afterwards, we made our way back over to the jaw-dropping Monte Palace Tropical Garden.

After walking around the garden, we made our way back to the entrance and after a quick 5-minute walk we made our way to arguably Madeira's most famous attraction: the Toboggan Experience. Dating back to the 1850s, this toboggan was the primary way for people to get back downhill to Funchal. Donned in all-white outfits, a straw hat, and special rubber-soled shoes, two men known as "Carreiros" are your chauffeurs downhill the curved and windy roads. Their special shoes are the secret to how they steer and brake the toboggan. Though the ride is only about 10 minutes long, you hit some high speeds, get some views of the island straight to the ocean, and it's guaranteed to be a highlight of your trip.

Day 5

Madeira truly has it all, including a subtropical forest. We did a leisurely hiking experience through the Laurissilva Forest with Madeira Adventure Kingdom. We came across a waterfall and even walked through a tunnel with headlamps on. Afterwards, we made a stop at the Fanal Forest and were completely enamored with its foggy magic.

After, we visited Porto Moniz Seixal. We checked out the natural pools formed by volcanic rock then made a quick ride to the Black Sand beach nearby.

Day 6

To wind down from our exciting week, we did a luxury yacht charter for the afternoon with Rota dos Cetaceos. The views alone were worth it. The company also offers whale watching and swimming with dolphin tours.

Our week in Madeira was nothing short of incredible. We already can't wait to return again soon. If you're interested in our hotel stay and where we ate - stay tuned! Further blog posts are soon coming.


  1. I purchased an old wooden door frame at a flea market a few months ago and had been using it in my fairy garden!

  2. Madeira sounds like a hidden gem! The nonstop flight from the USA makes it even more appealing. I'm eager to explore its natural beauty and historical sites. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Yeah this is very cool place in my opinion. I like to visit some places where i can have a lot of fun, and visit cool places like casinos and i have heard that Madeira has a lot of casinos there. As a fan of casinos it would be really cool experience for me to go there.


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